“Taking care of yourself doesn’t mean me first, it means me too.” — L.R. Knost
I have been a techpreneur for over 25 years. And I have realized it, felt it, thought of it, and discussed it.
In the hustle of choc-a-bloc business meetings, in the passion for growth and in the obsession to move ahead of the curve, self-care is a less celebrated virtue. The emotional costs of setting up and running a business are not quantifiable but easily palpable.
Long hours glued to work, the profound challenges in fundraising, anxiety, dread of failures, burnout, personal sacrifices and the lack of emotional support systems- every business founder or entrepreneur has gone through this grind. Any founder or entrepreneur also faces a swarm of expectations from employees, customers, investors and the society at large. Failure to meet their expectations can induce anxiety and even depression.
The demands of running a business can lead to physical and emotional exhaustion, and can even put a strain on personal relationships. Is there a way to manage the emotional costs? Yeah, a simple, time-tested recipe- Investing more in self-care. This is like a marathon runner taking the time to stretch and hydrate, or a carpenter changing out dull blades before they start a task- investing time and energy upfront will help ensure success in the long run.
Let’s dive into the incredible world of self-care and why it’s an absolute must for entrepreneurs.
Self-care isn’t just about indulgence; it’s about taking proactive steps to nurture our physical, mental, social, and emotional well-being. By making self-care a priority, we can stay connected to our minds and bodies, establishing healthy habits that support our overall health and success.
Now, I get it. As business founders, we often think that self-care is a luxury we can’t afford. Our days are packed with product development, marketing, sales, finances, and a million other things demanding our attention. We might even feel guilty about taking time for ourselves or spending money on personal well-being. But here’s the truth: self-care isn’t selfish — it’s a necessity. It’s a crucial ingredient for our success as entrepreneurs and the long-term sustainability of our businesses.
Exploring the Incredible Benefits of Self-Care
1. Reducing stress
We all know stress is a constant companion on this rollercoaster ride. But chronic stress can lead to burnout, anxiety, depression, and a host of other health issues. That’s where self-care comes to the rescue. It helps us manage stress by relaxing our bodies and minds, releasing those delightful endorphins, and lifting our moods. For instance, taking a few moments to take a few deep breaths, go for a walk, or meditate can help us refocus and reset to tackle the next challenge.
2. Boosting productivity
It may sound counterintuitive, but working nonstop actually hampers our productivity. When we overwork ourselves, our focus, creativity, decision-making, and problem-solving skills suffer. That’s where self-care steps in to save the day. Taking breaks, recharging our energy, and nurturing ourselves actually increases productivity. It’s about finding that balance and optimizing our performance.
3. Improving relationships
As entrepreneurs, we rely on strong relationships with customers, partners, investors, and our team. Neglecting self-care can inadvertently strain these relationships, leading to irritability and distance. But when we prioritize self-care, something magical happens. We become happier, more compassionate, empathetic, and better communicators. It’s a game-changer for building and nurturing those vital connections.
4. Boosting self-esteem
Let’s face it — the entrepreneurial journey is full of challenges and self-doubt. We question ourselves, fear failure, and face criticism. It can take a toll on our confidence and self-worth. That’s where self-care steps in to be our rock. It reminds us of our strengths, accomplishments, values, and goals. It helps us embrace ourselves as we are and celebrate our uniqueness.
Rebooting the ‘Stressed’ You
Being an entrepreneur isn’t synonymous with sacrificing every ounce of your existence for your business. It’s undeniably true that businesses demand an enormous chunk of your time and vitality, but it’s vital to view them as integral components of a grander tapestry. Each day is a fresh challenge. If you find yourself bereft of joy or incapable of tending to your mental and physical welfare amidst the pursuit of building your enterprise, it becomes super important to reassess your aspirations and realign your daily rhythms accordingly. But at the end of the day, it’s still okay to take a break and watch an episode of your favorite show or take a long nap with your pet.
After all, you can’t pour from an empty cup!